Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Raven


The Raven
Mike Nappa

As part of his regular street performance, a deception specialist who goes by the name The Raven picks his audience's pockets while they watch. It's harmless fun--until he decides to keep the spare wallet a city councilman doesn't seem to miss, hoping for a few extra bucks. When he finds not money but compromising photos of the councilman and his "personal assistants," The Raven hatches a plan to blackmail the man. However, he quickly finds himself in over his head with the Ukrainian Mafia and mired in a life-threatening plot code-named, "Nevermore." 

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill must scramble to sort out the clues--and their complicated feelings for each other--to rescue The Raven and save hundreds of lives from a wildcard bent on revenge. 
Mike Nappa snags readers from the first page of this fast-paced thriller--and he never lets go until the end.

     When I heard about Mike Nappa's novel Annabel Lee last year, I was immediately interested because of its Poe connection. Sadly, I never got the chance to read it, but I quickly jumped at the opportunity to read The Raven. Though I knew both of these titles were taken from Poe's works, I sadly didn't realize that they were part of the same series about the same people--a thoughtless oversight on my part! Luckily, this did not hinder my understanding of The Raven's plot, although I do wish I had read the previous book, as there was a lot of underlying tension between characters that made me wish for the background knowledge Annabel Lee would have given me.

     I have mixed feelings on this book. It took me a few chapters to get into- it has a "southern-fiction-ish" feel that I wasn't really expecting, and as that style of writing is not my favorite, I felt disappointed. Also, though this book would still probably be considered clean, it was a little rough around the edges, so to speak. That being said, it definitely grew on me the more I read. I love husband-and-wife detective teams, but I'd never read about an ex-husband-and-wife detective team. Coffey and Hill's relationship is an interesting one, although I felt like I didn't get to know either of their characters as well as I would have wished. 

     Honestly, I really can't decided whether or not I liked this book. It had a lot of characters (though they certainly weren't hard to keep track of) which were all layered with murky and tangled motivations. The geeky pop-culture references were appreciated, and of course anyone with an affinity for Edgar Allan Poe's works will find the premise intriguing. Perhaps I will try Annabel Lee and see what I think of that one before I fully commit to an "aye" or "nay" on this series. 

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Lady Unrivaled


A Lady Unrivaled
Roseanna M. White
Bethany House Publishers

Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smile--even if it's just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well the danger that has haunted her brother and their friend, and she won't wait for it to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better. 
Lord Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he's determined to live a better life. But that proves complicated when old friends arrive on the scene and try to threaten him into a life of crime. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won't budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her--and his daughter--from those dangerous people who seem ready to destroy them all?

     Out of the three Ladies of the Manor books, I think this one was my favorite--but that just might be because Ella was my favorite of the heroines, and I enjoyed a lot of her banter with Cayton. I liked his character quite a bit!

     As for the plot, it's not something that's wildly original, but in a very self-aware, I-know-exactly-that-this-is-a-cliche-but-I-simply-don't-care way that's strangely endearing. These books take me back to late middle school where I was just starting to read Christian fiction, with that optimistic adventure and romance combination that's just fun, if a tad unrealistic. My only real complaint is that I feel like this book (and the other two in this series as well) went on just a bit too long and never got me well-invested in the climax. Also, the women's stubbornness tended to frustrate me. However, even so, I'm starting to come to the conclusion that Roseanna White's book are exactly what I need when I want a nostalgic, escapist read. Recommended to older teens on up.

Rating: 8

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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